The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) Director General, Charles Odii, highlighted on Wednesday that inadequate information dissemination about government intervention programs remains a hurdle for small enterprises seeking access to funds.
During the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Sterling Bank at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, Odii emphasized that informing the right businesses about available funds is crucial, underscoring the importance of effective communication in conjunction with securing funds.
Addressing the issue, he stated, “We have a case where some funds are lying unutilized in one of the banks, close to N500 million, and only six persons accessed that money. So again, before we even start to talk about how many people accessed it, maybe there were bottlenecks, how many people know about these interventions?”
Announcing the agency’s achievement during the ceremony, Odii shared that SMEDAN has secured a N5 billion loan portfolio with the aim of supporting over 10,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
He outlined that the strategic partnership with Sterling Bank will facilitate SMEs in accessing loans ranging from N250,000 to N2.5 million at a single-digit interest rate. The agency is set to begin receiving applications within two weeks.
Odii expressed the agency’s commitment to easing access to finance, acknowledging the scarcity and high cost of finance in the region. He stated, “We want to make sure that we solve that problem,” and thanked Sterling Bank for their collaboration.
In response, Abubakar Suleiman, the Managing Director of Sterling Bank, assured that no collateral would be required to access the loan, and a two-year repayment window would be provided. He highlighted the introduction of a technological platform named ‘Banker,’ designed to simplify the process for small businesses, allowing easy access to financing and aiding in business organization and record-keeping. Suleiman emphasized that businesses passing through this process would benefit by understanding why they may not have accessed the funding initially and could make necessary changes for future access.